LEADING title contender Dianne McEwan is hoping her steady progression in the final placings will continue when she competes in her fifth Spec-Savers Ironman South Africa in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
The best South African performer last year, when she finished fourth, the Capetonian has set her sights on constant improvement and is hoping for a podium finish.
She is also banking on a period of training with Ironman specialist Raynard Tissink to help her to challenge the top athletes. This is only the second year McEwan is racing as a professional and her experience from last year should stand her in good stead. “The training has gone really well so it will be interesting to see what effect that has. I feel I have put in more hours than before.”
Even though defending champion Natascha Badman has not entered this year, McEwan knows there is a strong challenge ahead of her and predicts a tight race.
“I think if she has a good day, Jodie (Swallow) will be out there on her own and she is definitely the race favourite,” McEwan said of the three-time East London 70.3 winner.
“But I am also looking forward to my battle with Lucie Zelenkova (now Reed).
“We always have a little banter and I definitely want to beat her out of the water.”
Of her race strategy, she said she would be chasing from behind. “The run is where the race will happen for me because that is my best discipline.”
McEwan said she was looking forward to competing in PE.
“I really regard this as my home Ironman and I love the crowd support.”
While she rates Swallow as the favourite, McEwan is predicting a close contest.
She feels athletes like 2012 runner-up Simone Brandli, New Zealand’s Michelle Bremer, Joanna Carritt, of Britain, and American Jessie Donovan are all capable of figuring in the final reckoning.